HealthShare caught in Web
WebMD Corp., Elmwood Park, N.J., acquired HealthShare Technology, a decision-support software developer, for $31 million and up to an additional $5 million if certain financial targets are met this calendar year. HealthShare, Acton, Mass., provides tools that: assist payers and employers, and their members and employees, in evaluating hospitals for cost and quality of care; help health plans develop provider networks; and enable hospital leaders to develop online decision-support systems to manage costs and improve the quality of care, according to a WebMD statement.
Clicking on Medicare
The American Medical Group Association unveiled a new Web site offering comprehensive Medicare fee-for-service information for physicians. The association has been working with the CMS for the last six months to develop the Web page. The site has sections on coding, HIPAA compliance, fraud and abuse, a quarterly provider update and specialty topics such as physician self-referral. The site's format, according to a news release, allows physicians in medical groups to easily access information in a "one-stop resource."
Online directory hang-up
Patients choosing a doctor rely far more on the advice of friends and family than on Internet directories, but when patients do search online, many are dissatisfied with what they find, according to a new study. While the Internet is "routinely being used as a resource for healthcare information," many physician directories "are not objective and are difficult to use," according to an issue brief summarizing the results of the survey. "Moreover, they frequently fail to meet the information needs of consumers or contain information that is old, inaccurate or incomplete." The issue brief, "Finding Doctors in Chicago: A Project to Improve Online Physician Directories," was published by the Commonwealth Fund, which funded the survey, conducted by the Midwest Business Group on Health.
EHRs penetrating small practices
Despite the high cost of clinical information systems and the oft-referenced dearth of technical savvy and support services in smaller physician offices, more than 15,000 solo and smaller group practices have installed some form of electronic health-record system, according to a survey of vendors by the American Academy of Family Physicians. Thirty-six healthcare technology vendors participating in the academy's Partners for Patients initiative, which aims to boost IT use among member physicians, were surveyed by the AAFP's Center for Health Information Technology. They reported the number of EHR installations -- both stand-alone EHRs and EHRs integrated into a suite with that company's own practice-management system -- they had operating in physician offices. According to the survey, smaller practices had the largest number of installed and running EHR systems, particularly stand-alone EHR systems, while larger groups favored the combined EHR/PMS systems.
First, do no reporting
Hospital chief executive officers and chief operating officers generally thought nonconfidential, mandatory error reporting would do more harm than good, according to a study in the March 16 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. Sixty-nine percent of CEOs and COOs surveyed said a nonconfidential, mandatory system would discourage reporting of patient-safety incidents internally. Seventy-nine percent said they thought it would encourage lawsuits, and 73% said it would have no effect or a negative effect on patient safety. Responses were received from 203 of 320 randomly selected hospitals in six states -- two states with mandatory, publicly disclosed reporting; two with mandatory but confidential reporting; and two without mandatory systems.
CHIME rings up vendors
The College of Healthcare Information Management Executives will recognize "pioneering leaders of the vendor commun-ity who have made major contributions to the field of healthcare IT" with its newly created Lifetime Achievement Award. Nominees must be from member firms of the CHIME Foundation, a group of 56 developers of healthcare IT products and services who support the educational initiatives of Ann Arbor, Mich.-based CHIME, a group of about 1,000 healthcare chief information officers. A call for nominations is expected in June or July. The first award winner is to be honored at the Fall CIO Forum
Oct. 18-21 in Boca Raton, Fla.
James captures quality honor
Physician informatics pioneer Brent James, M.D., was named a winner of a 2005 Health Quality Award by the National Council for Quality Assurance, the not-for-profit quality certification organization announced. James is executive director of the Institute for Health Care Delivery Research and vice president for medical research at Salt Lake City-based Intermountain Health Care. The awards are presented every two years to honor individuals and organizations for their work in improving the quality of healthcare in the U.S. Other winners are Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton
(D-N.Y.); former Republican Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich; actress Mary Tyler Moore, international chairwoman of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation; and Marion Nestle, author and professor of nutrition, food studies and public health at New York University.